Banda set to deliver her first State of the Nation Address

After an almost five-week as Head of State, Malawians are keen to hear what President Joyce Banda has in store for them as she officially presents her first State of the Nation Address on Friday.

President Banda is set to officially open the 2012/2013 Budget meeting at the new state-of-the-art National Assembly building in the capital Lilongwe.

She is expected to open from 10:00am and all invited guests are asked to get seated in the Parliament Chamber by 08:30am.

The President, who ascended to power following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, is widely viewed, both locally and internationally, as a solution to the myriad economic and political problems the country has been experiencing over the last few years.

President Banda: Set to deliver speech in Parliament

As such Malawians and development partners are enthusiastically looking forward to her administration’s new policies in an effort to rescue the politically-damaged state with a complete rotten economy.

Leader of the House, Henry Duncan Phoya said apart from discussing the first national budget of Peoples Party (PP) administration, members will also deliberate on certain Bills passed by the former regime which attracted public outcry as they were deemed to be oppressive.

The repressive laws include Section 46 of the Penal Code Amendment Bill which empowers a minister to ban a newspaper and the Civil Procedure (Suits by or against the Government or Public Officers (Amendment) Bill, popularly known as the Injunctions Bill.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly John Tembo who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President said he expects the legislators to have a smooth deliberation as they all join the president in solving the country’s economic problems.

“As Malawi Congress Party [MCP], we are very ready for the budget meeting, we are mature enough and we know exactly what to do when it comes to parliamentary procedures… We expect this budget session to be among the smoothest,” said Tembo.

However, Malawians are yet to see the success of the deliberations as the current ruling party (PP) only has three known Members of Parliaments while the rest have just defected to the party after President Banda took over office on April 7, 2012.

The Members of Parliament are expected to meet for the next six weeks, according to Speaker of National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda.

Among others, Parliament is also expected to endorse the new Inspector General of Police Loti Dzonzi who replaced fired murder suspect Peter Mukhito.

The House is also expected to debate the status of our controversial new national flag whether to maintain it or revert to the old one while rumors are rife that the PP administration wants the old flag.

However, Malawians can still be assured that the new administration has still taken on board a number of development policies which were initiated by the previous regime such as the fertilizer subsidy programme and the Shire Zambezi Waterway project.

President Banda, previously the late Mutharika’s estranged State Vice President, was sworn in following constitutional order as the country’s fourth president since independence in 1964 and Southern Africa’s first female head of state.

Banda was expelled from DPP on December 11, 2010 for refusing to endorse late Mutharika’s brother, Peter, as presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2014 General Elections.

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